Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"You're So Calm."

A sponsee made that remark to me recently, and I was startled to hear it. Me, calm? Am I? The Oxford online dictionary defines calm as: "not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions" and "tranquil."

Tranquil is defined as: "free from disturbance, calm."

I am largely calm nowadays, I realise. I may still go through periods of conflict and strong emotion, but I am not owned by either of those disturbances.  I no longer have those times I once did, when anger or strong emotion of any kind could make it impossible for me to make rational choices. I can still, even in the midst of conflict, examine myself and my part in it, describe my thinking to my sponsor, be open to another way of looking at whatever it is. 

I can feel strongly, and not lose my sense of propriety. MrSponsorPants has a hysterical post today about how even though one part of his mind can be thinking uncharitably, what's in true control, is his recovery mind, which will present him with alternatives to his reflex thinking. 

I laughed, reading his desciption of the internal dialogue between the two levels of self, because I can relate to it so well.

Recovery does not mean that I am floating through my life never having an uncharitable thought, or a crazed thought, or a co-dependent thought. Recovery means that I no longer accept every single thought as the truth, or even as bearing any resemblance to truth. Recovery means that I can hear my thought, and step back to examine it from various viewpoints, knowing that what may look perfectly like a lamb from one angle, when viewed from 180 degrees past that first point, reveals the bushy tail and sharp ears of the wolf within the disguise.  

When I was new to Al-Anon, I despaired of ever feeling calm for any stretch of time; I'd been shaken and buffeted by my own emotions all of my life. I could not imagine what it would feel like to be able to be annoyed or even angry, and still be able to speak with restraint, and think with clarity. Al-Anon, and the working and practise of the 12 Steps, has given me a calmness I would have never have believed within my reach, let alone my grasp.

1 comment:

  1. I feel calm too, not filled with anger or self-pity. I like these level places in my recovery. They make the trudging go easier.